Beginners: Garden Safety

Flower box with flowersIt may sound unbelievable to hear that injuries while gardening are quite common! Most injuries are not too serious, but putting out your back, sunburn, and bug bites can be a pain when all you want to do in enjoy your time in your garden.

To avoid injury, you can make your garden space safer. If you are in the early stages of plotting out your garden, design it so that it reduces the need for high maintenance and heavy lifting. Be sure there are no tripping hazards such as loose pebbles or stone, hosepipes, or uneven pathways.

Another way you can remain safe and happy in your garden is by wearing appropriate attire to protect yourself from thorns, sharp sticks, poison ivy, ticks, etc. Protective clothing includes long pants, sturdy shoes or boots, a long-sleeved shirt, and a hat of some sort to keep the sun from beating down on your face and neck. Even with a hat, the use of sunscreen is a good idea, as well as sunglasses. Gloves are a must to protect your hands from scratches, cuts, and bites.

In order to avoid dehydration or a heatstroke, take a water bottle with you that have ice water. You can use it to rest on your forehead or neck in case you need to cool down quickly. If possible, stick to gardening in the morning or evening hours, and avoid the hours of 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – when the heat is at its peak.

While you wouldn’t normally associate gardening as a hobby you have to warm up for, gardening does exercise the muscles in your body. Before getting into your work, do some slow and sustained stretches for your arms, legs, and back.

Gardening posture tends to put a lot of pressure on the back and hands. It’s also likely your face is close to the ground. Squatting the entire time will cause discomfort and also put stress on your knees. The best way to get close to the ground comfortably is to cushion your keens with a waterproof kneeling pad or individual kneepads.

You may also want to consider getting a small seat that has a soft cushion. Another handy option is to use a plastic bucket with a handle to carry around your seed packets and tools, which can then be used as a seat when you are doing your gardening chores.

Keep your portable home phone or mobile device handy when in the garden. You never know when you’ll need it. Better to be safe upfront.